Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30, 1863 (Friday): Davis Questions A Cipher

General Braxton Bragg

RICHMOND, VA., September 30, 1863.
Headquarters, near Chattanooga, Tenn.:
    Your dispatch of yesterday received.* Am surprised at the statement of infantry force. Hope there is an error in the cipher. You have been advised of the re-enforcements en route to the enemy, and will appreciate the necessity for prompt action either against main body or detachments coming up.


*Dispatch not found, but see letter of Bragg to Cooper, VOL. XXX, Part II, p. 25. 

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 52, Part 2, Page 534.

Davis was surprised at Bragg's report of the strength of his command.  In addition to the heavy losses during savage fighting at Chickamauga, there were the inevitable stragglers who separated themselves from their commands for a time to tend to wounded comrades or, in some instances, simply to absent themselves from service.  Bragg believed Rosecrans' force to be so heavily entrenched as to make headlong assaults unwise.  What he failed to appreciate, but Davis appears to have, was the fact that Union reenforcements could grow his opponent's strength to such a degree as to make the hunter the hunted.  Prompt action, indeed, was necessary but Bragg was not given to it.


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